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  • POW Chats: Catching Up With Illustrator and Painter, KMNDZ

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    Earlier this year we caught up with Johnny "KMNDZ" Rodriguez at the 2016 DesignerCon in Pasadena, Ca. We followed up with the artist to talk life lessons, origin stories and aspirations. Check out the Q&A below.

    1. Hi Johnny. When we met at DesignerCon a few months ago, you were explaining to me a few of the things you'd learned recently about love and all variations of relationships, and how that was playing out within your work. What themes are at the forefront of your mind lately and how do the vibes relate to your recent creations?

    It’ll always be a constant in my work as I try and keep my message personal. However, lately I’m more focused on painting to get better versus focusing on the message or story. Not having a show to deliver for has enabled me to explore. I know, I’m kinda avoiding your question here.
    2. Can you talk to me about the piece you painted during Air + Style a few days back. Where as your mind at with that one?

    I came across a photo of a bird bulleting through the air, it seemed to fit my current mood. It’s a painting of a bird speeding through the air while its being shot at with arrows. I’d say that sums up the last year for me.

     

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    3. Tell me about where you're from and what it was like for you growing up there.

    Was born in LA and grew up in Baldwin Park, home of in-n-out. As with any city, you get what you make of it. I grew up in the streets and was able to survive it because I had good friends around every corner. The block I grew up in (Phelan) was full of all the neighborhood kids playing till it was time to come in. I could walk five minutes, run into a completely different set of hoody kids, and jump right into what ever was being played. Gangs made it tough but I grew up breaking with most of them, so there was no real threat. A few close calls but again I had back up everywhere I went.

    4. What simple lessons are you learning right now in your life as you continue to live on and practice being present through the experience?

    Do good, don’t be a dick. I feel like I’m in the middle of a new life lesson so things are a little foggy. It becomes clear once the dust has settled and I’ve had to time to meditate on it.

    5. With a full time career in art, how do you balance what is work and what is personal, reflective or leisure time? Does it all meld together?

    They are all monsters in my life. While some get fed others starve; I’ve yet to learn balance. The hungriest of them all is sleep.

     

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    6. Which one project have you most enjoyed working on thus far in your career and why?

    Loaded question!!! I’ve been extremely blessed as a creative, from my personal work to my commercial work. Rebranding Disney Junior, working on NIN video, NIN mural in London LA, Baby Tattooville, the fun I had with NC winning the Munky King Battle, Tron work, working on Pimp My Ride, my Disney days. I can go on and on... And It keeps getting better.

    7. When preparing to get to work on a painting or illustration, what rituals or activities do you practice leading up to beginning your work?

    Lots of meditating on what I want to say and paint. Endless nights of conversations at two in the morning in bed with my self. It kinda sucks, but most necessary.

    8. If you were only able to paint with three colors/hues for the next 3 months, what would they be and why?

    Black, White, and red Iron oxide. Why? There’s something about the combination that gets me excited about creating. And yes I just referred to black and White as colors.

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    9. Some people feel empowered by dedicating their work to others, but you've expressed that you create art primarily for yourself; has that idea, feeling or intention changed as you continue to paint and transform as an artist?

    No way... I’m selfish and that can never change. I paint to please my own eye as I hold my point of view in high regard. Making my self happy enables me to serve others with my work, it keeps the work honest.

    10. In terms of work projects and upcoming creative obligations, what do you have coming up that you're looking forward to?

    Nothing and It feels great! All im working on is getting better, painting larger, and trying new ideas.

     

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  • Watch: Air + Style x Prints on Wood Recap

    Last month, Prints on Wood set up shop for the weekend at Shaun White's Air + Style LA. The event was a highly attended, adrenaline-infused success, bringing together rad elements for lovers of music, snowboarding and visual arts.

    For the two-day half music festival, half extreme sports competition, Prints on Wood had the pleasure of hosting the production of four paintings by POW artists Nick Walker, Jeff Soto, KMNDZ and Bumblelovesyou. The celebrated artists live painted in real time for eager attendees, producing a team of awesome mini murals for the audience's viewing pleasure.

    Day 1 and Day 2 are chronicled here on the POW blog with a photo essay to illustrate each day, but to get an in action taste of the festivities, check out the video recap below!

     

  • Recap: Day 2 of Air + Style with Prints on Wood

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    Prints on Wood wrapped up Day 2 of Air + Style Los Angeles  2016, Sunday February 21st with a lot of great memories en tow. The day began and ended with fans stopping in to pick up one of our 4 in. x 4 in. mini wood prints from our Air + Style 2016 artists Jeff Soto, Bumblebeelovesyou, Nick Walker and KMNDZ. Over the course of the two-day event, 800 mini prints found new homes, many of which were signed by the artists on site.

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    Congregating over the love of art, extreme sports and music, Air + Style 2016 was a hugely enjoyable day for the artists and performers as well as the fans. Travis Barker, Kaskade and Incubus were among the performers of the night, adding a much appreciated soundtrack to the day's vibes. Several hours of painting brought into fruition 4 expertly rendered pieces by the aforementioned POW artists, which will make their way to a benefit show in Los Angeles this week!

    To view images of the day's festivities at the POW booth, as well as the lively happenings around A+S 2016, scroll below!

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    Illustrator and painter Bumblebeelovesyou executed his signature striped style, creating a dreamy rendition of his original titled "Somewhere I'd Rather Bee," showcasing a kid and some very Cali-centric palm trees against an equally Cali sunset. Bumblebee enlisted the help of his friends during the weekend event to help color in portions of the piece seen above using markers, crayons and paint, adding to the community feel of the space and in line with the guy's bubbly personality. What's birthed is a crazy cool multi-medium piece with big kid vibes in the art and execution.

     

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    jeff-soto-prints-on-wood-air-style-3  jeff-soto-prints-on-wood-air-style-5  jeff-soto-prints-on-wood-air-style-7   jeff-soto-prints-on-wood-air-style-10

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    Painter and muralist Jeff Soto brought quite a few smiles to the Prints on Wood creative space, with plenty of fans stopping in to nab photos and chat with the artist while he executed up his colorful and layered panel. Sans his signature owls, Soto reached for a different animal representation for this piece, one of which may very well be a mythical creature straight from the Soto thought process. Furry, antlered and faceless, the creature is a very cool execution of a mix between the Abominable Snowman and an elk. Of course, Jeff Soto can bring this odd description to life with some expert skill and cool usage of paint brushes and spray cans.

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    Johnny KMNDZ Rodriguez kept it elegant and simple, offering up the imagery of a bird mid-flight, narrowly missed by an arrow. As the definite romantic among us, Johnny's work speaks volumes to sentimental vibes and all things that pull at the heart strings. Check out an interview with KMNDZ from this year's DesignerCon 2016 to get a feel for the artist.

     

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    Stencil artist Nick Walker came through with a super unique piece for A+S 2016. Titled "Numbers," Nick adds a visual layer to the piece using numerical stencils to represent his background. The artist's varied range of work can be seen here, as well as his recently released limited run  piece titled "Amour Plated."

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    Till next year!

  • Recap: Day 1 of Air + Style with Prints on Wood

    Day one of  Air + Style Los Angeles 2016 successfully kicked off today at Expo Park at the Coliseum in Downtown Los Angeles. Per usual, Prints on Wood was happily in the building soaking in the extreme sports and music-centric vibes. 24 athletes competed on the event's 16-story snow jump, while eleven musicians took to the stage including J. Cole, A-Trak, Action Bronson and A$AP Ferg.

    Founded in 1993 by Andrew Hourmount, the event was the first Big Air snowboarding event of its kind. Since '93, Air + Style has held 27 editions of the competition in locations such as Austria, Germany, China and the US, drawing in thousands of fans. This year was no different, as several thousand attendees flowed through the Expo Park fair grounds, enjoying the festivities, catching the Big Air show, peeping musicians, picking up free POW prints and stopping in to watch this year's POW lineup of artists get down.

    Johnny KMNDZ Rodriguez, Jeff Soto, Bumblebeelovesyou and Nick Walker started on the early stages of 4 wood panels that will shape up to become a few fantastic works by the end of Day Two. Be sure to check back tomorrow to see how things pan out. To see shots of the fest grounds and festivities, images of the performers, the monstrous 16-story ramp and our POW artists in action, scroll below!

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    Families and friends looked on at the gigantic 16-story snow ramp set up at Air + Style 2016. The finalists of the day's competition include:

    KADONO, Yuki
    MCMORRIS, Mark
    SANDBECH, Stale
    PARROT, Max
    BERGREM, Torgeir
    KLEVELAND, Marcus
    SHARPE, Darcy
    WILLETT, Eric
    CICCARELLI, Michael
    HANSEN, Kim Rune
    TONTERI, Roope
    TRUCHON, Antoine
    THORGREN, Sven
    TOUTANT, Sebastien
    MACK, Kyle
    ULSLETTEN, Emil
    PIIROINEN, Peetu
    DE BUCK, Sebbe
    LUNDSTROM, Tor
    PREISSINGER, Maximilian
    MOUTON, Boris
    WEISSENBACHER, Mathias
    ROISLAND, Mons
    MILLAUER, Clemens

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    More angles of the ramp in action, plus, a couple of snap shots of the festival's host, Shaun White.

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    Bumblebeelovesyou hanging out in the Prints on Wood section working on his wood panel piece, plus signing one of his mini prints for a fan. Environmentalist group Global Inheritance had their Rain Supreme team on the grounds during the event as well, with a full-on art show displaying water canisters painted by a medley of artists, including Bumblebee!

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    A look at Day 1 Air + Style 2016 performers All Time Low, Allie X, Action Bronson, Paz and Haim! The crowds were pumped the entire day from start to finish, with each performer putting in work for a high intensity show.

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    Fans pose by a David Bowie tribute piece water canister at the Rain Supreme exhibition.

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    Over at the POW tent, festival attendees got their hands on a variety of free mini prints from Bumblebeelovesyou, Jeff Soto, Nick Walker and KMNDZ.

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    Nick Walker adding in some elements to his piece during Day 1 of Air + Style utilizing his signaure stencil style. Below that, you can get a look at Johnny KMNDZ Rodriguez' piece in the foreground, and a glimpse of Jeff Soto's work in the background.

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    A look at the 5 Points tent, where festival attendees were welcomed to work on an Air + Style group mural, adding in whatever artistic elements they'd like.

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    ASAP Ferg was a crowd favorite of the night, keeping energy high at the event's 'City Stage.' And of course we can't forget about A-Trak, offering the crowd a high intensity mix to ring in the night. J Cole was the long-awaited finale out the night on the event's 'Mountain Stage, closing out the show. Check out a video of Day 1 festival highlights here!

  • Are you Ready: POW x Air + Style 2016 Going Down Feb. 20th- 21st

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    It's that time again! Extreme sports athlete Shaun White is hosting yet another year of his highly anticipated Air + Style Sports and Music Festival. Beginning February 20th, the two-day event features entertainment from top international athletes including Eric Willet, Antoine Truchon, Markus Kleveland and He Wei. The tour athletes will be dishing out pro tricks on the event's gigantic snow ramp, keeping all of our adrenaline high.

    Of course, you can't forget about the undeniably on point music line up offered at this year's event. From Travis Barker performing on the drums, then hitting us with a DJ set, to Action Bronson and headliner, J. Cole, this is a stand out year for the fest for sure.

    POW attended last year's Air + Style and can vouch the event is quite unlike any other event offered locally in LA. Half extreme sports and half music festival, it brings the best of both worlds to the forefront. And since art is the world's universal language, you know we had our hand in the festivities as well.

    Last year, we brought along Greg Craola Simkins, James Haunt and Jeff Soto to paint live or audiencesThis year, we couldn't be happier to announce that we'll have Jeff Soto returning, as well as Nick Walker, Bumblebee Loves You and Johnny KMNDZ Rodriguez coming along for the ride, and painting live with us at Air + Style!

    Each of the four artist will be undertaking a 4 foot by 8 foot wood panel, creating something awesome for our viewing pleasure. Additionally, we're stoked to announce that we'll have 4 in. by 4 in. mini wood prints to share with Air + Style attendees. Be very sure to stop by and nab one of these mini prints, and catch our artist roster in action. See you this weekend, February 20th and 21st, at Air + Style!

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  • KMDNZ Goes Deep; Talks Loss, Love and Paying Homage at DesignerCon 2015

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    I interrupted Johnny KMNDZ Rodriguez mid-WIP to get to know him and his work a little better. Much of what I knew about the Los Angeles-based graphic designer up to this point dealt with his all-star lineup of internationally revered enterprises tacked on to his resume— brands such as MTV Networks, Universal Pictures, Microsoft, Lexus and Disney. But instead of discussing his commercial successes, KMNDZ and I talked loss, love and paying homage at DesignerCon 2015.

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    Hi Johnny. Can you tell me about the piece you're working on right now live at DCon?

    All week my brain has been racking with, 'What am I gonna' paint? What am I gonna' paint? I drew some stuff up, and just thought 'I'll do more bombs.' But last night, at the last second, I thought I'd just do a tribute piece. So I went and found everyone's like primary head or logo that they do and I'm making a roll call kind of piece. No one knows I'm doing it, but hopefully they'll come by and be like 'hey that's my dude.'

    But even though I'm doing everyone else's art, I'll eventually do my style of their art. Like the dunny or the KAWS; I'll do KAWS, I'll make it look like KAWS, but I'll make it look like wood or put beads all over it or something; kind of KMNDZ-ify it.

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    Very cool. Can you tell me about the print you have available through POW titled "Atoll?" Where's the content from that piece stem from?

    "Atoll" was a part of a Merry Karnowsky exhibition called I'd Rather Love You. The exhibition talks about things that I've been experiencing with loss of love and relationships and whatnot. It's something that drove me to the conclusion that in relationships in general, I've been getting abused a lot. It'd been happening for a long time. I'd gotten to a point where the only proper response was just to love someone back; the proper response was never to respond in an equal manner or to respond with hate in anyway.

    I genuinely wanted to make a difference in the way someone perceives the way you should respond, by just showing them or being an example. We talk about stuff like this a lot, but once you experience it, it's super hard to do— almost impossible to do. We have that innate tendency to like, protect ourselves, but I'm finding the older I get – maybe a little wiser, I don't know – that at the end of the day, I would rather choose death over hurting someone.

    A part of learning this was through a relationship. Like, I love 'this' person and I never wanted to come strongly back at them the way they had at me. So when I paint about bombs, those bombs are full of love and taking what is designed for hate, and replacing it with love.

    Upon finishing this quote, fans and friends approached Johnny to extend a hello, handshake or smile— allowing him to extend that love he embeds in his creations, IRL. Stay tuned for more work from KMNDZ and for an update on his DesignerCon live painting, which just may be up for grabs as a POW printed wall adornment in your home soon. You'll have to check back to know! Till next time.

  • POW x DesignerCon 2015

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    This weekend, the POW team soaked up our fair share of art appreciation and positive vibes while in lovely Pasadena, Ca attending the third annual DesignerCon.
    DCon brings together the who's who in the worlds of custom art, illustrations, apparel, miniatures, and all around exclusive finds. With over 70,000 sq. ft. and over 300 vendors to explore, this event is a yearly MUST for anyone intrigued by the design trade.

    2015 brought an all-star lineup to the convention overall, but the energy was well-felt over at booth #512. Several of our favorite artists came to hang out and sign prints; the roster included Mab Graves, Jermaine Rogers, Buff Monster, Camille Rose Garcia, Luke Chueh, Johnny KMNDZ Rodriguez, Bioworkz, Joe Ledbetter and Jeff Soto.

    Over the two-day event, wood prints found new homes, laughs were shared, good times were had, but also photographed; and since photos are totally worth a thousand words, see below for visuals of DCon 2015 and be sure to check back soon for updates and interviews with Buff Monster, Mab Graves, KMNDZ, Jermaine Rogers and more!

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    Joe Ledbetter graced DCon with this wall installation, where a team of POW 1 of 1 prints hung out for the weekend. Below, see work from Ron English (left), KMNDZ (center) and Buff Monster (right).

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    Throughout the course of the event, KMNDZ live painted, shaping up a sweet tribute piece centered around some of our favorite characters and their original illustrator's noteworthy designs. Can you spot any?

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    Fans lined up for a chance to get a doodle from Mab Graves as soon as she entered the booth. The intoxicating, humorous and welcoming demeanor of the artist adds volumes to her dreamy illustrative appeal. Worth noting, the Indiana born artist's backstory into the art world is about as surreal as her paintings. We've got the proof.

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    Photographed here: Rock illustrator and man of many-a-positive vibes, Jermaine Rogers signing. prints of "The Exchange." Below, a look at his 1 of 1 large format print titled "Frida and Vincent."

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    Photographed here: Ron English's "Stormtrooper Grin."

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    Put Buff Monster at a booth for an hour with a Sharpie in hand and the people will come. After his signing, the busy man of melty talents sat down for a one-on-one conversation about his brand new book, the Renaissance era and why he paints melty things. Get the insight here.

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    Over Dcon weekend, Camille Rose Garcia talked art and inspiration with fans while signing prints, note pads and copies of her various books. With titles ranging from Tragic Kingdom, The Saddest Place on Earth and her latest, Mirror, Black Mirror, she brought the magical gloom in the most ingenious of ways. Filled with all-telling creatures, inquisitive spirits and a sense of macabre intrigue, her work is some of the most easily distinguishable in the dark arts.

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    Painter/designer Luke Chueh took time out to attract some star attention. A favorite of many intrigued by the areas of "lowbrow" pop art, he is beloved for his "Hello Lukey" reiteration among many other minimalist adaptations of familiar images.

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    Hundreds of these little guys found new homes over the weekend, with one of POW's biggest giveaways having taken place at DCon. Snapping a photo of the POW booth, posting it to Instagram, then tagging and hashtagging @PrintsonWood is all that was needed to talk away with one of these Jeff Soto owl prints. DCon attendees were given the opportunity to grab a print, then take it right behind the POW booth over to Jeff's to get it signed. Convenience at its finest.

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    Photographed here: 1 of 1 "Ornate Elephant" by Bioworkz. View all of Bioworkz work available through POW here.

     

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